Tag: science

  • Europe, Oxford and inspiring diversity

    Uncategorized | Jackie Hunter

    In the early part of last week I participated in a meeting organised by Science Europe on the European Research Area (ERA) which discussed topics in the broad areas of the role of funders in ERA, research impact and its assessment and the reproducibility of research. In the latter session a presentation from Nature journals highlighted some issues of consistency in terms of good experimental practice in one of their journals that I think will bear some further investigation. Ensuring that the researchers we fund adhere to excellent standards of experimentation is something all the research councils in the UK take very seriously. [...]

  • Diverse collaboration – and great new science

    Uncategorized | Jackie Hunter

    Last week we had a number of collaborative meetings with organisations as diverse as NERC and Syngenta. The first meeting however was an introductory one for me with Ian Boyd, Chief Scientific Advisor at Defra. We discussed Defra and Sir Mark Walport’s ongoing review of Animal and Plant Health in the UK as well as other issues of mutual interest.

    Later in the week members of the NERC and BBSRC Executive teams got together to see where areas of emerging science might benefit from some joint funding to either capitalise on synergies or accelerate collaboration. We identified a few areas where we could work together more closely and members of the two Councils are exploring these in more depth. [...]

  • The benefits of a diverse approach

    Uncategorized | Jackie Hunter

    This week has been both busy and interesting with my first Council meeting as Chief Executive. At the start of the week I had the pleasure of meeting the finalists in the Biotechnology and Environmental Young Entrepreneur Scheme and hearing some of them give their pitches. The questioning by the panels was really tough and certainly equal to, or greater than, any grilling by venture capital firms in the real world.

    I was also really encouraged by the diversity of the teams, which represents progress in comparison to the statistics reported on diversity within universities published by HESA earlier in the year. Approximately 20% of all professors are female, across all disciplines, although they make up over 40% of all academic staff and with the figures also showing less diversity in terms of ethnicity. I believe the issue of diversity is of great importance; most recently this meant giving a talk to the BBSRC Human Resources (HR) Network, made up of HR professionals from a number of BBSRC strategically funded institutes, on the importance of diversity. This opportunity also allowed me to find out what the institutes were doing to progress Athena SWAN accreditation. [...]

  • “Science isn’t finished until it is communicated”

    Uncategorized | Jackie Hunter

    Recently I came across an interesting quote from Sir Mark Walport, the UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser. It was “science isn’t finished until it is communicated” delivered as part of a speech on climate change at a meeting in Cambridge. As scientists, we do have a duty to not only report our research to other scientists (to funders, the scientific community) but also to communicate relevant scientific findings to both the public and policy makers. How the information is conveyed will need to be contextualised in a way that is meaningful to the intended audience and this can sometimes be difficult. For example, my family frequently tell me that I go into too much detail and overcomplicate things when I am trying to explain some interesting science to them (and they are an engineer and an economist!). An informed society will be able to make more considered choices and be more readily able to engage in future public debates about science and its application and to take full advantage of what scientific advances are making possible. [...]

  • How could we harness the power of BBSRC’s global alumni network?

    Uncategorized | Jackie Hunter

    Last Friday I was St George’s Hospital Medical School where I had held a Wellcome post-doctoral research fellowship in the 1980s and now hold a Personal Chair in Life Sciences Innovation. The building and labs have changed out of all recognition since I was there but it was very interesting to go back and see the changes at first hand. This got me thinking about Alumni in general and BBSRC Alumni in particular. [...]